Little transparency, particularly in print
The MOM results show a lack of transparency in media company ownership and financial information throughout the sectors. This is particularly evident in the regional press – in none of the print outlet’s homepages neither ownership information nor economic data is to be found.
Difficult access to information
Finding information is very difficult. This is due to the absence - with the exception of companies listed on the stock exchange - of an accessible and digital public database. Information about foreign companies is also limited. The chambers of commerce only requires certain companies to provide a limited amount of information - therefore, data on each company has to be researched individually and fees to get to some of that information are relatively high. Financial information about the largest media can – at least for some media companies - be found at the Superintendencia de Industría y Comercio.
Complex and non-transparent structures
It was difficult to identify the actual owners because of complex ownership networks: media companies often have other media companies as majority shareholders - then again, those companies are owned by companies. The structure becomes even more complex when majority shareholders are offshore-registered companies – often located in Panama. The extent to which these structures exist as a way of concealing ownership information, as opposed to serving company financial objectives, is unclear.
Lack of interest in transparency and making information public
Only the following five out of 40 contacted companies provided ownership structure, management, and financial information: la Silla Vacía, Teleantioquia, RTVC (for Canal Uno and Señal Colombia), Canal Capital, and Canal 13. They are considered as passively transparent as they answered questionnaires that were sent by the project team. The El Heraldo newspaper provided a partial response. Minuto 30 sent a reply and declined to provide the information. The remaining media companies did neither proactively provide information about their affiliated interests beyond what is available in their press releases, nor did they answer the questionnaires.